Lunch in lovely Hofheim!

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We have pretty weather today, so Bill asked me if I wanted to go out. I did want to go out, as I have a bad habit of being reclusive when I should be out enjoying Germany. Unfortunately, Aunt Flow showed up this morning… about a week delayed. I was hoping for a reprieve but– NOPE– no such luck. It always happens on a Saturday, too.

Anyway, I mention Aunt Flow only because we were on our way to Hofheim in my Mini Cooper convertible (which really needs to be driven more), when I realized I had forgotten to arm myself with the necessary feminine hygiene supplies. Fortunately, Hofheim has a very nice Edeka located in a shopping mall that has a nice parking garage with low rates. We parked there, stopped by the store, visited the restrooms (50 cents), then took a stroll through Hofheim, which is one of the nicest towns near where we live.

A few months ago, when we tried and failed to adopt a dog from a German pet rescue, I joined the Wir in Hofheim Facebook group. It was one of many groups I joined in an attempt to try to locate the dog we hoped to adopt who escaped from his pet taxi as he was being unloaded. Unfortunately, the dog met an untimely end on the Autobahn, but I stayed in the groups, anyway. The Wir in Hofheim group is one of my favorites. I regularly follow it, because there’s a lot of helpful information in it and the people are very nice. It was from that group that I got the idea to go to Hofheim.

It’s not that we hadn’t been there before. Bill and I visited the outskirts when we first moved up to the Wiesbaden area and ate in a now defunct Italian place. Bill also visited the town to get take out for us when the COVID-19 restrictions were very strict. Unfortunately, one of the places we discovered in the spring, Blanca Bistro, is now closed. We passed by there today on our way into the old town. I was sad to see it sort of abandoned… there’s still liquor and glassware in there, and signage is still up, but the restaurant stopped serving food a couple of months ago. Several places have had to close due to COVID-19, including the excellent German place near our house. We only ate there one time because it was always packed! But it couldn’t keep going during the pandemic.

We did manage to find lunch, though. We ate at Ristorante L’Opera, an attractive establishment in a little alcove on the main drag. No one else was there when we arrived at about 12:30pm, but we were soon joined by a German couple who enjoyed smoking.

Bill filled out the contact tracing paperwork and the waiter handed us the laminated menus, obviously much abbreviated compared to normal. There were still a few dishes that were attractive, as well as some specials that were advertised on a sandwich board by the passage. Unfortunately, the uncomfortably narrow chairs, which are the kind often found at gelaterias, reminded me that I probably ought to cut back on my groceries.

I don’t usually get pizza in Germany, mainly because it’s always more than I can finish and I don’t always like the kinds of pizzas that are available. I will say that today’s pizza was excellent. I especially enjoyed the crust, which was absolutely perfect! I’m sure they have a pizza oven to get such perfection. Light, yet chewy with a slightly crisp crust, delicious mozzarella cheese, and a light layer of tomato sauce made that very simple pizza creation a delight! And I even skipped the meat.

Bill enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, which had a housemade bun. He especially liked the slaw, though. Bill likes cabbage very much. I noticed he cleaned his plate, while I had leftovers, which our attentive server was happy to wrap up for later.

The bill for lunch came to about 41 euros. Bill gave the guy 45, and we took a walk around the town. Hofheim is maybe nine kilometers from where we live, but it’s very charming. We probably ought to visit more often, if only because we like the Edeka better than Rewe.

Anyway… it wasn’t long before we needed to head home and rescue Arran from his loneliness. Although Hofheim isn’t a substitute for some of our favorite little towns in Baden-Württemberg, like Nagold, Esslingen, Ludwigsburg, and Tübingen, it’s not a bad place to spend a couple of hours. There are several nice restaurants there, charming ambiance, places to shop, and enjoy the last days of summer. I’m glad we took the time to go there today… and for any readers who are looking to move to Wiesbaden, this is one town I would recommend seeking a home nearby. It’s a very pleasant little hamlet.

Wine on the Rhein in Eltville…

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When Bill and I were searching for housing, one town’s name that came up was Eltville.  Eltville is a beautiful place, right on the Rhein River.  I really wanted to find something there, or in someplace similar.  Sadly, it just didn’t pan out for us.  We only live about 19 kilometers away, as the crow flies; so today, we decided to pay a visit.  I will admit, today’s trip was a bit rushed and unplanned… we got there kind of late in the afternoon– so late, that we ran into the pause issue at lunchtime.  Still, I got a little taste of Eltville and decided we have to go back soon.

Initially, Bill was reluctant to go to Eltville, since he thought that was where Eltz Castle is.  Eltz Castle is probably a two hour drive from our town.  I do want to go there and plan to visit, but Eltville is nowhere near Eltz Castle.

To be honest, all I knew… and still know… about Eltville is that it’s on the Rhine and there’s a beautiful burg there known as the Electoral Castle.  We got some nice views of it, but didn’t tour it today.  Today was all about getting away from the house for a few hours and having a change of scenery.

Here are a few photos from today’s trip.

The first clue of how cute Eltville is…

And a nice looking cafe, although my mind was on lunch, not cakes.

 

Locks of love… but not nearly as many as in Cologne or Regensburg.

The Electoral Castle.

The lovely Rhine/Rhein, where many people were enjoying the nice weather today.

Another shot of the castle.  Someday, we will explore it further… perhaps on a day when we don’t sleep in, as we did today.

 

They have day cruises, too, although I didn’t see any running today.

Pretty rose garden.  It costs nothing to visit.

It was around this time that I was distracted by the need to pee.  Unfortunately, it was just after 2:00pm, which is when a lot of restaurants take a “pause” before dinner.  We did find a place for me to use the ladies room, but they were only offering beverages.  So we had some wine by the Rhein.

We stopped by this eatery, which offers food, but not when we were there.  I noticed they, and another local restaurant, had signs stating that their toilets aren’t public.  At this restaurant, you could pay a euro to pee if you weren’t a guest.  At the other, it read that there was a public toilet 40 meters away.  

It offered a nice chance to take pictures of the Rhein.

Sebastian’s Tower…  (in German, but Google Chrome works wonders)

 

I guess this is a real problem in such a pretty town.

 

Another sign… this one seemed to be for the city.  

After a drink on the Rhein, we ended up at the Weinpump, which we noticed on the way into town.  This restaurant takes pauses on every day except Sundays and holidays.  We were grateful they were able to take care of us today.

The back entrance to the restaurant.  We first saw the front entrance, which didn’t give away how nice the Bier/Wein garten is.

 

Don’t be fooled by how unassuming the front door is.  They have a great garden!

Cute mural outside.  Note the landmarks!

Bar area outside.

And the hours… very convenient for Sunday.

I liked how the reserved signs were all in English.  In fact, our waiter spoke perfect English, even if his colleagues didn’t.

I had the trout with potatoes and a salad, as well as a glass of Riesling.  I loved how they cleaned the fish.  I found just two bones in the fish– they had removed everything.  The fish was very fresh and tasty, served with perfectly cooked boiled potatoes and a green salad.

Bill had cold roast beef with green sauce and fried potatoes.  I think I might have liked his dish better than mine, although mine was certainly great.  He washed his lunch down with sparkling water.

An older couple sat near us and, it was clear, they came from money.  They were very well dressed and groomed and I noticed them staring at us/giving us a bit of the stink eye.  It might have been because we were Americans, although not obviously so.  The waiter switched to English when he heard me ask for “Forelle” (trout).  He apologized for not spotting us as Americans sooner, but Ikind of take that as a compliment.

The older couple did wish us Auf Wiedersehen when they left.  We were probably weirder than most Americans, because we aren’t as loud.  Years of living in Europe have taught us not to be so conspicuous.

One thing that did happen during out visit was that one of the toilets in the ladies room was backed up.  I didn’t have a chance to tell the waiter when I first noticed it, but I noticed several other ladies visiting and not saying anything.  So when our waiter came to collect our money– different guy, whose English wasn’t as good– I mentioned the toilet in the ladies room as Bill gave him a generous tip.  The guy thanked me and immediately went back to check on it.  Something tells me they’ve had problems with that toilet before.

Total damage for lunch was about 40 euros.  I had a second glass of wine– a nice dry red.  We will definitely have to visit Eltville again on a day when we haven’t slept in.  It’s really a delightful town, and not far at all from where we live.

Idyllic Idstein… a place to get your architectural fix!

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I mentioned in my last post that there’s a lot going on in Wiesbaden this weekend.  Even so, we decided today to visit Idstein, an adorable little town just about ten miles north of where we live.  With 25,000 residents and a history that dates from 1102, this is a very charming little town with a past and a future.

I got the idea to visit Idstein from seeing an ad for it on Facebook.  Someone posted photos of the colorful buildings and the inside of the protestant church that stands near the center.  I’ve been missing half timbered buildings since our move north and Idstein has them, along with the Hexenturm (witch’s tower).  This weekend, they’re having a jazz festival that costs 15 euros a head to attend.  Prior to the festival’s beginning, there were numerous musical groups playing for free on small stages around the city.

Bill and I wandered around a bit, had some Greek food for lunch, and visited the beautiful church.  Here are a few photos.

A view showing the steeple of the protestant church, as well as some of the beautiful half timbered buildings.

 
 

Such charming architecture!  I especially loved the colors and intricate designs on the buildings.

 

The blue house next to the Rathaus is the Schiefes Haus– the crooked house.  It’s not a museum or anything; you have to admire it from the outside.  But it really is unique and cute.  

 

The Rathaus, complete with drummers on stage.

We saw a lot of residential areas that looked like this.  People were living in or running businesses out of these classic homes on cobbled streets.  I could learn to love Idstein.  It could be our “new Nagold”.  All it needs is a river, although the two does have two brooks that run on either side of it– the Wolfsbach on the east, and the Wörsbach on the west.

 

Witches’ Towers are not unusual.  They were often part of dungeons, particularly for women accused of practicing witchcraft.  Sometimes they were simply used as regular prisons.

The Hexenturm (Witches’ Tower)… we didn’t climb it because you have to pick up the key from the tourist office.  This tower is part of Idstein Castle and consists of 160 steps.  I needed fortification for that kind of punishment.

 

The back of the castle, just past the tower.  A band was playing “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.  I was reminded of Thursday night karaoke at The Library in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I used to be a regular.

 

A photo of the castle, which is very striking.  It seemed especially fitting there was a toy store just under it.

 
 

In the tunnel passing under the castle.  

 
 

Need a midwife?  Idstein has you covered.

 

Picture postcard perfect!  There isn’t a lot to Idstein, but it has some nice shops, a weekend market, and a lot of events.  I could see us coming back again and again… at least until our next move.

After about forty-five minutes of walking around, I was pretty hungry.  We stopped at Greek and German eatery called Deustches Haus.  Today, they only offered outdoor seating.  That was fine, since the weather was so good.

It was a nice place to people watch.

I had the Grillteller, which was souvlaki, gyros, and bifteki with tzatziki and steak fries.  This was good, although I’ve had better Greek food.  I loved the frites, which were better than the standard skinny ones one finds here a lot.  It looked like they were offering a scaled down menu, with just a few choices.  If I had wanted German food, I could have had a schnitzel or a salmon filet.

 

Bill had souvlaki, which was curiously priced higher than my dish was.  I couldn’t finish mine, so Bill helped.  Total bill was 34 euros and there was no ouzo… but we enjoyed lunch very much.  It’s been too long since my last Greek food fix.

Nice view from near the restaurant.

After lunch, we went into the Unionskirche, which dates from the 17th century, but was very recently refurbished. 

The inside of this church is astonishing, with its many paintings of Christ.

It kind of puts the Frankfurt Cathedral to shame, even though it’s much smaller.

The beautiful ceiling above the altar.  

I think if I went to church here, I’d spend the whole time looking at all of the art.  It really is beautiful and the pictures don’t do it justice.  The paintings are an unusual feature in a protestant church.  

A Klofrau was sitting near the WC truck.  Idstein also has a public toilet that is prominently and permanently stationed.  Very civilized indeed!

Right after an ice cream break.

Another big event coming up in Idstein this summer.

 

I definitely see us coming back to Idstein.  There are other things to do there that we missed today because we were distracted by the live music and other things going on.  It’s hard to believe this pretty little town is so close to us.  It reminded me a little of Esslingen, near Stuttgart, only it’s a lot smaller and there’s no river.

I would have liked to have stayed for some of the jazz concert, but we had to get back home for the dogs.  Next time, we’ll have to plan better so we can enjoy more of the live music.  Idstein is definitely going on my next “ten cute towns” of Germany list.  Stay tuned for the next rainy or cold day, which probably won’t be too far in the future.

A day in Bacharach…

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After last week’s trip to Eppstein to see the castle, I thought maybe we might want to go to another castle this week.  But Bill had other plans.  Elton John is going to be playing a concert tonight in Wiesbaden and since we saw him in Stuttgart and have no desire to sit in Staus from Hell again, we decided to avoid the city.  Remembering a lovely day we spent in the Rhein-side hamlet of Bacharach, back in 2014, Bill decided we should visit there again.  I was game.  Bacharach has the distinction of being the very first German town I ever laid eyes on, back in 1997.  It’s an adorable place, even if there’s not a lot to it.

On the edge of town.

We didn’t really do a lot in Bacharach other than wander around, take pictures, eat lunch, and have beer at a Biergarten.  We were blessed with wonderful weather– much better than what we had when we visited in 2014.  I don’t have much to write… but I do have lots of pictures.  Feast your eyes on this cute little historic town, located about an hour away from Wiesbaden.  It’s nice to be so close!

If castles are your thing, you could do worse than visiting Bacharach or any of the other cute little towns near it, like St. Goar.  There are many castles around the area.  I caught these photos on the ways in and out of town.

Lots of pretty vineyards, too.  Bacharach’s Schloss is now a youth hostel that sits majestically on a hillside overlooking the town.

You can see the hostel in the background.  I stayed in a lot of hostels during my 1997 epic train trip through Europe, but I didn’t stay at Bacharach’s.  I think I was intimidated by the climb up the hill.  Bacharach’s hostel is in the historic Burg Stahleck Castle, which dates back to the 12th century.

When I stayed in Bacharach, I stayed at the Hans Dettmar B&B.  I was excited because the room came with a shower and a WC.  My standards have changed a lot since 1997, but so has my budget.

Our first order of business was to find something to eat.  Bacharach was busy with tourists today, most of whom were sitting outside.  We didn’t necessarily want to eat outside, although on a warmer day, it’s nice to be in the open air.  I have to balance wanting to be cool and wanting to stay out of the sun.  We ended up having lunch at a garlicky smelling place called Pizzeria Pippo (or Pippo Bistro, depending on what sign you’re reading).  Based on the decorations on the walls, I would guess it’s owned by Sicilians.
Cheers!
They had lasagne on the menu that looked tempting, but they weren’t offering it today.  I had spaghetti with “Lachs”– salmon and onions.  It was okay, though I have had better.
Bill went with the daily special, housemade tagliatelle with tomatoes, herbs, and cream sauce.  He seemed to enjoy his dish more than I liked mine.  

While we were sitting there, an English speaking group of 7 showed up.  They were making special requests.  Kudos to the waitress for handling it so well.  I think if we go there again, I’ll try a pizza.  They have a stone oven and the sizes looked manageable.  As it was, I managed about half of my dish, while Bill finished his.  We spent 37 euros.
After lunch, we wandered around… toured a church, strolled by the river, and wished we had more time to take a cruise.  The breeze coming off of the Rhein was lovely.
Check out those pipes!
This is different.  I probably would have kept going to church if we’d had one of these where I used to attend.
Literature lovers will enjoy this…
Another shot of the hostel/castle.
Boat schedule.  We’ll have to make a point of coming up and spending more than a couple of hours.  
The town itself is super cute.  And if you want to buy some wine, you can easily accomplish that.
I would actually love to find a little vacation apartment and come up for a long weekend with the dogs.  Bacharach is not that far from Wiesbaden, but it feels like a world away…  this is the kind of place we love to visit on weekends.  The Black Forest area is chock full of them, but we’re still trying to make discoveries up here in Rheinland.
We stopped at a Biergarten– the Kleines Brauhaus at the Rhein Theater— where we had a memorable afternoon in 2014.  We happened to visit on German Father’s Day, and there were many fathers and sons at this Biergarten, getting loaded and singing songs…  It was such a special memory for us that we decided to go back.
They had a full house.  We had to wait for someone to vacate a table under the carousel canopy.  One young lady– looked about seventeen or so– was bravely handling all of the orders.  She was remarkably chilled out. 
I had a Bacchusweizen Krug.  When it arrived, the Germans at the next table looked at me with bemusement.  Maybe it’s not very ladylike to order a liter of beer.  Maybe it’s not smart, either, since it will get warm if you don’t drink it fast enough.  Believe me, I’m up to the task.  This beer was a little bitter.  I liked Bill’s 1489 Dunkelweizen better.
In the foyer of the theater.  I took this same photo in 2014, which you can see on the post I linked at the beginning of this post.  I see they’ve added a safety vest.  
Someone started up this calliope.  Pretty cool!
I do like the Rhein Terrasse.  We didn’t make any new friends here this time, like we did in 2014, but it was still a pleasant place to kill an hour or so, before we decided to go home and feed the dogs.

We’re supposed to have similarly beautiful weather tomorrow.  Maybe we’ll visit that castle I was thinking about.  Or maybe we’ll do something else entirely.  I’m just glad we aren’t sitting in traffic.
On the way out…

A little wine and dinner in Hochheim…

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It’s been an unusually social week for Bill and me.  On Monday, we drove to Schwetzingen to meet Bill’s former co-worker and current friend, Tim, and his wife, Melody, who had come to Germany to celebrate their anniversary.  On Wednesday, we saw the Scottish Music Parade in downtown Wiesbaden.  And last night, we gathered with Bill’s new co-workers in the picturesque city of Hochheim am Main, which is where Bill’s new boss lives.

Bill’s boss’s landlords own a winery, so they had arranged for us to do a wine tasting before dinner at the hotel directly across the street.  We were a little bit late to the wine tasting, since Bill wasn’t able to get home as early as he’d hoped he would.  We also went to the wrong place at first.  Apparently, Hochheim is loaded with wineries and wine stores.  The first place we went, the guy was just closing up for the evening.  But he was so friendly and kind that when we go back to Hochheim, we will definitely stop in and check out his wines.

It was fun to meet some new people, although I have to watch myself in social situations.  Sometimes I get carried away and say more than I should.  Below are a few pictures from the event.

No… Bill wasn’t falling asleep, although this week of activities has worn him out a bit.  We aren’t used to socializing as much as we have this week.

I learned last night that Thomas Jefferson once visited Hochheim.  This wine was named after that event, although we didn’t arrive early enough to hear the history of his visit, which the landlord/winery owner explained.  Later, we were quizzed on this…  Bill and I didn’t fare well.

The wines flowed freely.  This was the price list.  I liked several of them.

 

I was feeling a little envious of where Bill’s boss lives.  It’s the kind of cute town I was hoping to find when we were searching for our current house.  I guess we just weren’t destined to live in a super cute town this time.  I wish it hadn’t been so dark during our visit.  Hochheim looked like a really quaint place.

We had a buffet dinner at Hochheimer Terrasse, a restaurant located directly across the street from Bill’s boss’s house.  There were a few Christmas parties going on last night, and they also had their bar and restaurant open to the public.  Our buffet dinner consisted of pumpkin soup, which was creamy and delicious, goose leg, Rotkohl (red kraut), bread dumplings, and apple strudel for dessert.  We also got all the beer and wine we wanted.

I ended up talking to a few people at the party, and Bill’s boss mentioned my blog, which Bill had told them about.  I think when they had their first meeting back in September, Bill had our visit to the elevator testing tower near Rottweil in mind.  I was explaining that the tower offers Germany’s highest observation deck, as it’s also a place for elevators to be tested.  I’m not sure people quite understood the appeal of visiting an elevator testing facility in southern Germany, but nevertheless, that was how Bill introduced my travel blog to his boss.

As things were winding down, we were visited by this guy…  He recited a poem, tried to get us to sing “O Tannenbaum”, which no one knew in German, and then handed out tangerines and chocolates.  Afterwards, he asked for money.  Bill said the restaurant owner came over and shooed him out of the dining room.  I missed that part, but I will admit that he kind of put an unusual accent on the evening.  In all my years of living in Germany, this was the first time I ever ran into a German Santa.  

 

My German friend says this was the poem he recited…  I think she’s right.

I grabbed a parting shot of the restaurant’s sign as we were leaving.

 

I enjoyed the goose last night, which surprised me, since I had only had goose once before and I hadn’t liked it at all.  It was too gamy.  This time, it reminded me of duck, only with a longer leg.  I know goose is popular in Germany this time of year, but somehow I missed it during previous Christmases here.  I may have to try it again, but not at a buffet.  It turns out several of Bill’s new co-workers also spent time in Stuttgart, although we were told that usually people move from Wiesbaden to Stuttgart, and not the other way around.  For that reason, I won’t be surprised if we move to Stuttgart a third time someday.  But then again, maybe we won’t.

Our visit to Rottweil, land of towers and Rottweilers!

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The mighty Thyssenkrupp Testturm, towering over Rottweil and its environs.

This morning, as we were enjoying breakfast, Bill asked me what I’d like to do today.  I suggested a few things, then mentioned the Thyssenkrupp Testturm.  Bill kind of got a look of dread on his face.  He doesn’t really like heights and wasn’t sure the huge tower near Rottweil would be worth a visit.  I told him it might make for a fun blog post, so he relented.  He likes me to earn my keep, after all.

We could have discovered Rottweil last year, but didn’t.  For Mother’s Day 2017, Bill and I visited the tiny town of Dietingen, where there is a rock museum called Welt der Kristalle.  I remember really enjoying the museum and the lovely countryside that surrounded it.  Off in the distance, I noticed a strange looking tower surrounded by scaffolding.  I wondered what it was, but since rain was threatening, we didn’t venture closer.  Instead, we went to the nearby village, ate Greek food, and went home.  Because of the rain, we didn’t venture into nearby Rottweil, which is destined for a spot on my next top ten cute German towns list.  We discovered today that Rottweil has a lot going for it, and it’s less than an hour’s drive from where we live in Unterjettingen.

We got in the car at about noon and headed south down A81, arriving at the tower at about 1:00pm.  It’s a pleasant drive, with some pretty scenery and, as long as there are no staus, the time passes quickly.  Before long, you’ll see the tower looming over the landscape, looking curiously like a giant cigarette, minus the smoke.

Although the Testturm offers an awesome deck for birdseye views, it does has a practical purpose.  The tower is used to test elevators, some of which even travel horizontally.  But with true German efficiency, the powers that be came up with the idea to also offer the observation deck for paying guests and conference rooms for businesses looking for an inspirational place to conduct business meetings.

Thyssenkrupp’s signage.

 
 

Some information about the tower.  It’s in English and German.

Just one of the views from the tower.  Keep reading for more.

Thyssenkrupp Testturm has intrigued me ever since I first noticed it being built on the horizon as we passed on the way to Switzerland.  I didn’t research what it was until this past May, when Bill and I visited Annecy, France.  On the way back from France, I pulled out my trusty iPhone, took a photo, and looked it up.  I discovered that the tower, which was completed in 2017 and opened in October of last year, soars 807 feet (232 meters) over the landscape.  It currently offers Germany’s highest observation deck.  Yes, it’s higher than the Stuttgart TV tower and the Berlin TV tower.  On a clear day, you can see for miles.

It turns out going to see the tower was a fine idea for today, despite the few clouds in the sky.  We had a great visit, and I don’t think Bill is sorry we went.  The huge tower is really an engineering marvel, and the town of Rottweil is absolutely adorable.  What’s more, while the tower offers awesome panoramic views, it’s very safe.  The deck is surrounded by a very tall glass wall, which kind of sucks if you want to take clear pictures, but does make one feel very secure.

For most of the year, the tower is open to visitors on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.  During the month of August, it’s also open every other day of the week except for Mondays.  Tickets for adults cost 9 euros each.  Kids under age 5 get free entrance.  Kids aged 6 to 16 pay five euros each.  Family tickets are available and cost 26 euros.  The family ticket covers two adults and a maximum of three children.  Our visit to the Thyssenkrupp Testturm took less than an hour.  There’s plenty of parking; Bill says it’s two euros for an hour.  Tickets for the tower can be purchased online, or you can buy them at the box office.

Having now visited the top of the tower, I can vouch for the jawdropping views available from high in the sky.  The ride in the super fast elevator takes about a minute.  If you understand German, the operator will give you the specifics.  The one who was running the elevator today spoke English, so he also filled us in on trivia about the elevator and the huge tower.

Here’s where you check your bulky stuff, if you didn’t leave it in the car.  There’s a list of stuff you can’t bring to the deck.  My guess it’s because bulky purses, musical instruments, dogs, and vuvuzelas (yes, they actually specify “no vuvuzelas”) take up precious space in the elevator.  Self-brought food and beverages are also prohibited.

We happened to arrive at a good time.  It wasn’t crowded at about 1:00pm, so we were able to just walk in, buy tickets, and go.  Before you take the elevator up, be sure to use the restroom if you need to.  There isn’t one at the observation deck.

Below are some photos I got from today’s visit.

The conference area, where you can watch an ad about the tower and the city of Rottweil.  I must admit, it kind of made me decide to go there for lunch instead of eating at the snack bar by the tower. Rottweil is adorable!

 

This is what the deck looks like.  There is no roof, so when the weather is bad, they close it.

Need to pee?  Go before you ride up the shaft.  The toilets are on the ground floor.

We got to the tower at just the right time.  We did not have to wait in line, but when we left, a large group was in the queue.

 

Small snack bar in the parking lot.  There’s also a tiny souvenir hut, where they have everything from sparkling wine to aprons featuring the tower.

My attempt to get the whole tower close up.  It was pretty much impossible.  It really is massive.

 

As you can see, there’s a glare on some of my pictures.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid that, as the whole area is glassed in.  I did try hard not to catch my reflection in any of the shots.  That would have spoiled everything!

After we finished at the tower, we headed into lovely, charming Rottweil, the very same town from where the famous dogs hail.  There are tributes to the dogs scattered around the town, along with a couple more museums, some good shopping and an array of restaurants.  Plan better than we did.  We arrived at just about the time most of them closed for their pause and ended up having pizza at a cafe.

We also got snagged by a guy collecting donations for the World Wildlife Fund.  Actually, the guy snagged Bill.  I think I was giving off bitch vibes, because he dragged Bill away while I continued to take photos.  Although I wouldn’t mind giving a cash donation to that cause, this was one of those deals where they want a monthly bankdraft.  I wrote about my run in with another charity, Die Johanniter, last winter.  Apparently, this is a common way to collect donations in Germany and it’s highly annoying.  Fortunately, Bill was not hooked into a monthly contribution.  I got more photos, which I’m sharing below.

As you come into lovely Rottweil.  We managed to find free street parking (after 2:30pm on Saturdays).

These are all around the downtown.

Another Rottweiler!

These fountains were everywhere, too.

 

We walked down an alley looking for a restaurant.  We were unlucky in our search, but I did get some beautiful shots of the valley and the tower in the distance.

There was a wedding going on today, so I didn’t hang around to take too many photos.

 

We had lunch at Onkel Rudi’s, which is a bar/cafe on the main drag.  It had a nice outdoor area and was offering small pizzas and flammkuechen.  It wasn’t much, but it did the trick of chasing away my resting bitch face.

Prost!

Bill had the Pizza Diablo, which came with salami, red peppers, and green peppers.  I liked his better than mine…  

Pizza Mozzarella…  it’s cheese, sauce, and red peppers.  

 

Service at Onkel Rudi’s was good and the price was right.  Each pizza was 5,50 euros and our total bill was about 18 euros.  They only had three types of pizza and one type of flammkuechen, but I liked that the pizzas really were single sized.  And they were fine for lunch.  Next time we visit Rottweil, we’ll get there earlier.  There is more to see there, including several beautiful churches and another tower.

I would absolutely recommend Rottweil for a day trip.  It’s probably about a 90 minute drive from Stuttgart, less if you’re further south, like we are.  It’s basically a straight shot down A81 and really has a different feel than some of the other local towns.  You could probably fill up most of the day here if you plan right.  Visit the Welt der Kristalle in Dietingen, visit the Testturm, have lunch, hit a couple of the museums in the town– there’s a city museum and a toy and puppet museum that I noticed.  By that point, you might be ready to brave the traffic back toward Stuttgart.  I say give it a shot!

A pet friendly Columbus Day weekend in France… part three

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I don’t usually try to do a lot of “stuff” when I have my dogs with me on a trip.  They are just now becoming seasoned travelers and still react to other dogs and cats easily.  We usually try to eat in at least one restaurant when we travel with the dogs.  This time, we never did manage to dine out.  I think it was mostly because we used the little kitchenette in the Tower.

On our first night there, Bill and I were too tired to go hunting for dinner.  He went to the grocery store and picked up a roasted chicken and some side vegetables, along with a very nice chocolate dessert.  Naturally, he also bought lots of wine.  Semur En Auxois is in Burgundy, which is a big wine growing region.  Although I had originally wanted to visit Champagne, Burgundy is definitely not a bad place to be if you are an oenophile.  Bill was able to pick up many good bottles at reasonable prices.  Buying wine was one of our missions for this trip.

After we ate dinner, we watched a little French TV and then went to bed.  The next morning, it was bright and sunny outside.  After breakfast, we took the dogs for the first of many long walks!  Louise had told us to follow the disused train tracks near the Tower for a lovely walk that offered views of Semur En Auxois.  Here are some photos from our first look at the town.

A lovely view as we crossed over a viaduct that passes Semur En Auxois.  

A couple more shots.  I had no idea of how pretty our walk would become.

 

Once we crossed the viaduct, we got off the tracks and walked through a neighborhood that led us down to the river.

At the bottom of the hill…

 

Charming Pont Pinard.  My next post will have better pictures of it.

A kind man said “Bonjour” as we passed.

That bridge leads to someone’s private property…

A church in the main square, which we reached after climbing some steps.

These little dog stations were everywhere.  I was glad to see them, though not everyone used them.

A view of the tracks across the viaduct.

Semur En Auxois has a very charming downtown area, complete with lots of shops, a few museums, and some restaurants.  Sadly, because we had the dogs with us, we didn’t try any of the restaurants.  It’s not because they weren’t dog friendly, but because our dogs are still learning how to behave.  They’ve gotten much better since we started taking them with us, though.

Our first walk lasted a good solid 90 minutes or so.  That’s more than twice what our dogs usually get, so they were pretty tired.  We had such pretty weather, though, that we decided to have a quick lunch at the Tower and go for a drive.  We proceeded to take two more walks, which I will detail in the next post.